ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook expects his team’s comprehensive series win over New Zealand to leave his players full of confidence ahead of the forthcoming Ashes series against Australia.
Cook’s men wrapped up victory by 247 runs on the final day of the second Test at Headingley yesterday, following their 170-run triumph against the same opposition at Lord’s the previous week.
And, while spinner Graeme Swann and batsman Joe Root took the plaudits for taking 10 wickets in the match and scoring 104 runs in England’s first innings respectively, Cook believes his whole team should take heart from their mammoth triumph.
“To win by a big margin like that was a huge credit to the lads and I think everyone, one to 11, really put their hand up in this game,” said the Essex opener, who scored 130 in the second innings.
“It’s good momentum to have. Winning these two games and winning them quite well gives us good confidence leading to there [the Ashes]. Obviously when we get there it will not mean too much, but when we meet up again for the Ashes, we’ll be full of confidence.”
New Zealand resumed the final day on 158-6, an hour later than scheduled due to rain, knowing the dreary weather forecast was the only thing likely to save them from defeat.
Captain Brendon McCullum was first to go when Stuart Broad hung onto a caught and bowled chance with just eight additional runs added to the overnight total.
However, the Black Caps eighth-wicket partnership showed fight, as Doug Bracewell and Tim Southee put on a quick-fire 56-run stand, before Swann made the breakthrough when Southee edged to Jonathan Trott at first slip.
Another period of rainfall saw lunch taken early, but when play resumed Swann and James Anderson took the remaining wickets.
Bracewell was beaten by the turn from a trademark Swann delivery and as the ball flicked off the pad Ian Bell took a fine catch at silly point.
And New Zealand failed to add a run before Neil Wagner edged an Anderson delivery to Prior.